Top Takes From RealMoney

The RealMoney contributors are in the business of trading and investing all day on the basis of ongoing news flow. Below, we offer the top five ideas that RealMoney contributors posted today and how they played those ideas.

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1. Four Charts
By Robert Marcin
8:44 a.m. EST

As much as I expect the "buy the dip" crowd to support shares in here, four charts really concern me in the short run. Take a look at the charts for Goldman ( GS), the Russell 2000, the Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) and oil.

The best leading indicator for this market up down and up has been GS. That chart is disturbing, because the stock is cheap and the company is sooo good.

The Russell reveals how seriously small-caps are lagging. More than small-cap performance, it reveals an "average stock" experience. And the average stock has been struggling lately.

The XLF has been a good indicator of the market's trend, with a leading volatility factor in both directions. It has stalled as well. We cannot have another material leg up without the large financial service sector participating.

Finally, oil is not looking so hot either. It hasn't broken down like the others yet, but if it does, Katy bar the door! Oil represents the entire commodity trade and a correction there would be a new negative.

The energizer rally has crushed the bears and made bulls of most, or fully invested bears at the least. With many divergences, choppy fundamentals, fair valuations and retail withdrawals, this market depends a lot on momentum. And, it remains more vulnerable to fundamental concerns than it has in quite some time.

No positions.


2. Gold vs. Silver -- Friday's Action
By Brian Gilmartin
9:11 a.m. EST

Gold was down sharply with the late Thursday night, Friday morning Dubai events, but the gold ETF, SPDR Gold ( GLD), fought back and finished down just -1.56% on Friday, vs the drop in the iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) (the silver ETF) of -3.08%. The decline for the GLD was right in line with the other equity averages, while SLV's decline on Friday was worse than even the Russell 2000's drop of 2.53%.

There is little mystery that gold is outperforming silver, but I would have expected the SLV to hold its value better in a down market given its underperformance. Instead, just the opposite occurred. The rumblings are starting about a bubble in gold, but Friday's action (in my opinion) indicates that a pretty good underlying bid still exists for the yellow metal.

Long GLD, SLV (with a heavier weighting in GLD).


3. Black Friday: More Shoppers, but Subdued Sales
By Marc Chandler
11:25 a.m. EST

Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday season, saw sales rise compared with 2008, but there was likely some disappointment among retailers. While more shoppers, including online shoppers, turned out this year (195 million vs. 172 million in 2008) the average shopper spent less ($343.31 vs. $372.57 in 2008), according the National Retail Federation. That caused total sales to rise just 0.5% year over year, according to ShopperTrak, although online sales were up 11%. Some of the slow pickup in spending may reflect reduced prices, with Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Best Buy ( BBY) offering low-priced electronics, including flat-screen TVs and computers, as well as reports of goods being sold in stores at below profit in order to attract customers. The NRF noted that shoppers were willing to purchase, but at bargain prices. Shoppers may also be awaiting further price reductions. According to a Reuters poll, 71% of shoppers expected further price declines ahead of Christmas.

No positions.


4. Landry's
By Tim Melvin
11:55 a.m. EST

Things are getting interesting at Landry's Restaurants ( LNY). Company CEO and 55% owner Tilman Ferttita had proposed buying the company for $14.75 earlier this year. Bill Ackman, the noted activist manager of Pershing Square Capital, is opposing the deal. He has accumulated enough stock though direct of derivative positions that he now controls almost 25% of the stock. Shares have soared as the battle has taken shape with the price now over the $20 level.

If you, as I suggested, bought calls in Landry when the Fertitta deal was announced in early November, I would sell them here for a home-run gain in less than a month. That is what I will be doing.

Long LNY calls until my offer is taken.


5. Landry's Looks Like a Sell
By Scott Rothbort
12:13 p.m. EST

Landry's ( LNY) is a stock I have avoided for years. If someone is willing to take LNY private and you bought shares on the cheap, I would be thankful. Congratulations, Tim, if you got in before the last leg up. However, I would suggest selling LNY lest you risk the deal going bust.

The takeover proposal is no consolation for long-term shareholders as the stock was above $25 for nearly the entire period of 2004 to 2008. LNY has all the feel of an Outback Steakhouse, which went private and is saddled with plenty of debt. The parent of that company faced debt-service problems. LNY has about $860 million in net debt vs. a current market cap of $338 million and tangible equity of $275 million.

No positions.


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This article was written by a staff member of RealMoney.com.

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